Friday, January 15, 2010

Barn Owls and Peregrines

A nice surprise at Merritt National Wildlife Refuge, which Reier and I love visiting in the winter, was a wild Peregrine Falcon. It is an unbanded bird, and probably a migrant down the coast. He/she was probably duck hunting on a telephone pole. The next photo shows what Merritt looks like - a series of impoundments which create a haven for shorebirds, wading birds, and waterfowl.

Years ago, my friend Frank Taylor made a copy of a video for me of a sugar cane grower in Florida who had decided to put up Barn Owl boxes to encourage the birds to nest in his fields. (As you all know, owls do not make their own nests, so these structures will be attractive for them). The owls would be a natural rat hunter. Rats abound in sugar cane, and usually are treated with putting out "rat packs" of poison in the field. A couple of years ago, Reier and I went looking in the town mentioned in the video. Wandering miles and a visit to the sugar cane growers' local office later, we did come across some boxes! This past visit, we were happy to stumble on some boxes on the east side of Florida, where we spend most of our time. See the opening on the end? The structures are placed in the fields. Full disclosure: the photo at the end of the blog is a Barn Owl that is a captive bird, not wild. It is for eye-candy only.

No comments:

Post a Comment